Is there any truth to the old adage that, “criminals always return to the scene of the crime?”
In fact, it is more common than you might think. According to Stats Canada, those who have been robbed or burglarized are 12 times more likely to be robbed again. There are a wide variety of reasons a burglar might return to the scene of the crime. From catching homeowners by surprise to returning for specific items, returning to the scene of the crime can pay massive dividends for criminals who have the patience to wait until the time is right to hit your home again. Here are a few reasons why a burglar might return to your home after robbing you once:
If a burglar was able to gain entry into your home once, it is likely that they have a strong understanding of your security system. Whether you use an alarm system, smart locks, or have very little protection at all, they have proven that your current system is not enough to stop theft. With this confidence, it is possible that they will return to your home because they think you are an easy target.
Break-ins are significantly more likely to occur during daylight hours. Residents are usually out of the house, leaving the home more vulnerable to robbery. Criminals are usually looking for the path of least resistance when it comes to robbing homes, so they are more likely to keep track of your regular schedule and make sure you are out of the house at the time they break in. If a thief knows your schedule, they may feel comfortable enough to come back and rob you a second time.
Rather than struggling to search your home for valuable items, criminals who have already robbed your home are familiar with the layout. They also have a better idea of where you keep your most important and valuable items, so a second robbery will only take a fraction of the time compared to the first.
Even if a robber doesn’t return to your home himself, it is entirely possible that he let others know about the crime, leaving your home vulnerable to robbery from other criminals who think you are an easy target. Criminals are opportunists, which also contributes to the high number of repeat robberies that occur in homes that have recently been burgled.
From cutting a copy of your key to leaving a little-used window open, criminals will do anything they can to make their second robbery easier and more convenient. By giving themselves a faster way to break in, a criminal is much more likely to return to rob you again.
According to Stats Canada’s victim statistics, 6% of burglary victims experience some kind of depression and sleeping problems after the crime occurs, and 8% suffer from PTSD. After an invasion of privacy like a burglary, the last thing victims expect is to be robbed again. Many people don’t think to update their security measures, making it easy for a criminal to return.
Not only are you not expecting a second robbery, but criminals often wait until you have had time to replace your most valuable possessions so they can steal them again. Laptops, jewelry, and other valuable items can take months to replace through insurance, which can lead criminals to return as much as 6-12 weeks after the original crime.
When robbing houses, criminals have to be aware of what items will be easy and traceless to sell. For more specialized items that can be difficult to sell without drawing attention — musical instruments, antiques, jewelry — criminals often scope out your items and try to find a buyer. Once they find one, they return to your house to steal the object.
With this increased likelihood of being targeted again after a robbery, how can you protect your home from burglary?
Insurance policies regarding break-ins can be difficult to interpret. Make sure you read the fine print and see exactly what your insurance company will cover and what kind of information they need from you. This will help you avoid disappointing returns from your insurance company, in the event of a robbery or other accident.
To ensure your claim will be backed by your insurance company, be sure to keep a ledger of your most valuable, insured belongings. Photographs of your items are crucial, along with any receipts of purchase to prove the value of your belongings.
Often, burglars and other criminals are innately familiar with their target. Whether they know you or your family, live on your street, or have done work at your home, many criminals know your routine and take advantage of that information. That is why it is important to keep your vacation details and schedule off social media. When you post a picture from your latest vacation while you are abroad, you are letting criminals know that you aren’t home, leaving your home vulnerable.
Home security systems can be invaluable in protecting your home from burglary. As thieves look for the easiest, most convenient targets, an alarm system or other home security measures can be enough to deter them from entering your home, choosing instead to target a home that will be easier to enter.
For more information about protecting your home from a second burglary, call Canadian Security Professionals at 1-877-229-7252 or contact us here.